MLS Snapshot: Chivas USA 0-1 FC Dallas

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One game, 100 words or less: Too much space one too many times. Both sides were neck and neck, but a moment of brilliance for Fabian Castillo gave Dallas the quality chance they needed to move past the Western Conference bottom-feeders.

Goals

Houston – Akindele 49′

Three moments that mattered:

49′ – Castillo works, Akindele finishes – Fabian Castillo did all the heavy lifting, dribbling frantically through spaces in the Chivas midfield, and Tesho Akindele was the one to finish off the hosts.  Blas Perez was involved with a fabulous one-touch as well, and a true team goal is the moment Dallas needed.

61′ – Kennedy comes out – This game saw lots of shots but not many clear chances. Dallas came close to a second when Akindele sprung Castillo with a sexy through ball past two unsuspecting defenders. But Dan Kennedy saw the chance before it happened and came out to snuff Castillo’s shot early.

78′ – Torres defines Chivas’s season – Another year, another dumpster fire. It came, it saw, it left. Akira Kaji sent in a beautiful ball from the right, and Erick Torres pulled back to it to create separation from Je-Vaughn Watson. He unleashed a vicious header…just over the bar. Chance gone.

Lineups

Chivas – Kennedy; Lochhead, Kaji, Zavaleta, Toia; Pelletieri (Rosales 58′), Barrera (Finley 77′), Chavez (Avila 69′), Sturgis, Minda; Torres.
Dallas – Fernandez; Hernandez, Loyd, Hedges, Watson; Moffat (Michel 88′), Castillo, Ulloa, AE Diaz (46′); Perez (Zimmerman 84′), Akindele.

Three lessons going forward:

1. FC Dallas surge continues – The streak will almost surely end at some point, but three goals in four games – including two in one-goal matches – has Tesho Akindele at the forefront of Dallas’s jump up the table. The 22-year-old striker is kind of a big deal:

2. Chivas hope was short lived – Three straight 1-0 wins had Chivas supporters thinking the season could be salvaged. That’s way in the past now. Those three straight have become three straight defeats, with 7 goals allowed. It’s back to the bottom of the East, and things are just about done without another big streak.

3. Someone could use Erick Torres – As someone put it last month, “In a team likely going nowhere but the dustbin of history, Torres is a shining light of immense talent and exciting goals.” That may be a bit harsh, even on Chivas, but Torres is a product and someone could do with his talents. For a 21-year-old, even though he missed a crucial chance, his goals and ability is big for Chivas right now, and could be a season-maker for someone else.

Where this leaves them:

Chivas – Another week, another sentence talking about Chivas’s position. It could be worse – just ask Montreal – but their 23 points aren’t close to
Dallas – 7 games. 15 points. 0 losses. 1 playoff position. The last lucky 7 matches for FC Dallas has seen them vault up the table and into the fourth spot, and they’ve done it with just a goal differential of five. They’re not dominating teams, but producing enough to make their claim at a playoff spot.

Reina faces hearing over links with trio connected to mafia

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ROME (AP) Outgoing Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina has been summoned to a hearing at the Italian football federation over his association with people with links to the mafia.

Reina, along with Paolo Cannavaro and Salvatore Aronica, is to face the FIGC’s disciplinary committee after an investigation by Naples’ anti-mafia department.

It is reportedly one of the reasons why Napoli decided not to renew Reina’s contract, with the former Liverpool goalkeeper set to move to AC Milan on a free transfer.

The FIGC says Reina “has had and continues to have inopportune association and friendship with Gabriele Esposito, Francesco Esposito and Giuseppe Esposito.” It adds that that includes holidays and “an exchange of favors.”

Cannavaro, who had two spells with Napoli, retired at Sassuolo last year. Aronica also spent several years at the southern club before joining Palermo in 2013.

Iran names initial squad for World Cup

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) Jalal Hosseini and Vouria Ghaffouri have both been left off Iran’s provisional 24-man squad for the World Cup.

Iran coach Carlos Queiroz did not say why Hosseini, a Persepolis defender, and Ghaffouri were not included.

There was space for midfielders Masoud Shojaei and Ehsan Hajsafi, however. Both played with Greek club Panionios against Maccabi Tel Aviv in August 2017. Iran does not recognize Israel and its supreme leader has threatened the country in the past. Both Shojaei and Hajsafi missed matches with the national team after the game.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh, a 24-year-old forward who plays in the Netherlands with AZ Alkmaar, is also in the squad, which was announced Sunday.

In the midfield, Queiroz chose Saeid Ezatolahi, although the Amkar Perm player will miss the team’s first World Cup match because he was given a red card in a game against South Korea in qualifying.

Nottingham Forest midfielder Ashkan Dejagah was also chosen.

Goalkeeper Amir Abedzadeh of Portuguese club Maritimo made the squad. His father, Ahmadreza Abedzadeh, was Iran captain and goalkeeper at the 1998 World Cup in France.

Iran will play in Group B at the World Cup with Portugal, Spain and Morocco. The team will play warm-up matches in Turkey and Greece before heading to Russia.

Goalkeepers: Alireza Beiranvand (Persepolis), Rashid Mazaheri (Zob Ahan), Amir Abedzadeh (Maritimo)

Defenders: Ramin Rezaeian (KV Oostende), Mohammad Reza Khanzadeh (Padideh), Morteza Pouraliganji (Al Saad), Pejman Montazeri (Esteghlal), Seyed Majid Hosseini (Esteghlal), Milad Mohammadi (Akhmat Grozny), Roozbeh Cheshmi (Esteghlal)

Midfielders: Saeid Ezatolahi (Amkar Perm), Masoud Shojaei (AEK Athens), Mehdi Torabi (Saipa), Ashkan Dejagah (Nottingham Forest), Omid Ebrahimi (Esteghlal), Ehsan Hajsafi (Olympiakos), Vahid Amiri (Persepolis), Saman Ghoddos (Ostersunds FK), Ali Gholizadeh (Saipa)

Forwards: Alireza Jahanbakhsh (AZ Alkmaar), Karim Ansarifard (Olympiakos), Mahdi Taremi (Al-Gharafa Sports Club), Sardar Azmoun (Rubin Kazan), Reza Ghoochannejhad (SC Heerenveen)

Six Premier Leaguers named to Argentina, but no Icardi

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Argentina’s World Cup roster features a number of the usual suspects, particularly up front, but Serie A’s top goalscorer has been surprisingly left off the list of 23.

[ MORE: Belgium goes to World Cup without Nainggolan ]

Manager Jorge Sampaoli’s squad was made official on Monday, which includes the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain.

The Albiceleste won’t be taking Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi though, which has raised some questions about the decision.

Icardi led all scorers in Italy’s top flight this season, scoring 29 goals in 34 Serie A matches, while Paulo Dybala edged out the final striker spot in the Argentina squad.

Dybala is teammates with Higuain at Italian giants Juventus.

Meanwhile, six Premier League players were named into the South American nation’s squad, including goalkeepers Sergio Romero (Man United) and Willy Caballero (Chelsea), as well as Nicolas Otamendi (Man City), Marcos Rojo (Man United) and Manuel Lanzini (West Ham).

Men in Blazers POD: FA Cup recap, UCL final preview and more

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Rog and Davo recap a spite-fueled, snear-filled, peak Phil Jones FA Cup Final, preview this weekend’s Champions League tilt between Liverpool and Real Madrid and eulogize Big Sam… gone the opposite of too soon. Plus, World Cup rosters and MLS.

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